Friday, 19 October 2012

What we need is a Fuckwit Certificate.

Started thinking about this via a discussion on reproductive rights: specifically, the right of medical professionals to refuse to perform or assist in termination of pregnancy if that goes against their personal viewpoint/what they think their imaginary friend would want. There's also been that recent matter of the B&B owner who wouldn't let a gay couple share a bed, because her imaginary friend wouldn't like it.

Thing is, in a proper free world, people should be allowed to have all the imaginary friends - and all the apparently necessary prejudices and phobias that having imaginary friends entail  - that they want. But they should be upfront about their prejudices and phobias. After all, given that obeying their imaginary friend is Ever So Important and part of their Cultural Identity and their Very Selves, why hide it? Even those who are bigots just because they're bigots are generally proud of their bigotry.

So they ought to have to announce it. When you go to register at a GP surgery, the list of doctors should contain information to the effect that Dr A is opposed to abortion, Dr B isn't fussed about anything and Dr C is a bit fond of the power of prayer. If you're booking a holiday that's going to include visits to small scale independent B&Bs, any and every source of tourist information should include in its ratings: Sea View guest house is not keen on gays/Hill Top guest house insists on prayers before meals/Bide-A-Wee guest house is run by United supporters and will get all arsey with City fans. Etc.

Then people are sufficiently well-informed to be able to avoid the bigots and the nutters and get what they want or need elswhere.
In general, though, if you are superstitious to the extent that you want to stop other people from doing things that are perfectly legal and (outside of your particular cult) acceptable, you should probably stay out of careers that involve engaging with the general public. I have admittedly vague memories of some bloke who took a job in a train buffet but wouldn't serve alcohol, and wanted all alcohol removed from the buffet car for the duration of his shift. I seem to recall he got the sack... but then sued on the grounds of religious discrimination. That story may be a baa-baa-green-sheep racist invention, of course, but I *have* encountered people who are that self-obsessed and self-righteous, in other contexts.

So what we really need is some kind of 'Not all the services or facilities you might expect are available from this operative, because this operative is an arsepigeon' kind of easy-comprehension sticker or logo.

Perhaps it could look like this.

I pinched that graphic (and the other one) Somewhere Off The Interweb and wish its creator well. But maybe I've just offered her/him a lucrative new use for it.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Male arsepigeons - do it all you like but don't joke about it...

Seems to me that's what we're being told here. Think about it: Matthew Wood, a clearly rather knobbish teenager, makes some jokes on Facebook and gets sent to prison for three months. Justin Lee Collins, a clearly rather knobbish television presenter of some description, abuses, terrorizes and attacks his girlfriend. And gets 140 hours community service.

(pic cribbed from the BBC news website, because it let me without blowing up my laptop...)

No, those of you who haven't been keeping up with the news, I haven't got those sentences the wrong way round. Crap jokes = into the nick with you. Sustained bullying of a woman = less than a month picking up litter or painting over graffiti.

I suppose some might say that this sort of thing is down to the judiciary's cluelessness about social media (remember Paul Chambers, who tweeted an obvious-to-anyone-with-any-sense joke about blowing up an airport, and whose initial conviction was eventually overturned) but I think it's something more depressing than that. I think it's another manifestation of the sort of fuckwitted, malevolent sentimentality that Rupert Murdoch was always so keen to foster, as if you can get people to use their emotions as a guide rather than their intelligence, you can make them do whatever you want. Matthew Wood was arrested for his own safety, apparently. His 'crime' has been described as 'abhorrent'. 

He made some tasteless jokes about missing children. There is no suggestion whatsoever that he had anything to do with the disappearance of April Jones - or of Madeleine McCann, and no mention of him having committed any other crimes of any kind, yet he's been sent to prison and it's been implied that had any Right Thinking People given him a kicking, it would have been understandable. 
Funnily enough, the sort of men that are the most likely to get both teary-eyed and violent over 'offensive' jokes about dead kiddies are often the type who are quite happy to give their own wives - and kiddies - a slap now and again. Coverage of the Collins case featured plenty of handy hints that Anna Larke had some mental health problems, drank too much, self harmed... That she was a bit of a handful, a bit of a mad cow, and that a slap or two was probably no more than she deserved. It very often seems that victims of abuse or violence are more likely to get justice if they can be portrayed as innocent or at least lovable to the general public.

Perhaps the best thing to hope for is that the smug, arrogant Collins is cocky enough to post a few 'amusing' tweets about the whole endlessly hilarious business of controlling women by humiliating and scaring them. eh?